Because I have not cut the cord with the past. It is time to change.

I have two nicknames – “Mrs. J’s husband” and “storyteller.” For years I have listened to Lynn, my wife, share stories with me from her art students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The stories always bring a smile to my face.

My nickname for my new courses on Global Accountability and Business & Industry Analysis is the “storyteller.” I try and teach students working in cross-functional (multi-major) teams on how to tell stories about the global economy, domestic industries, companies within these industries, and the executives that run these companies.

In the beginning, I could bring home my own stories and show my student projects to Mrs. J, who would then show the projects to her art teacher friends. Life was good.

It was fun to see students go beyond their personal expertise and work with their team members to tell compelling stories. When given free reign to choose their own story line, I could see students get energized, get creative, and actually learn something about the subject in the process of having fun.

Now that I am responsible for teaching 1500 students a year, the fun is gone. The trouble with large size is increased visibility. Visibility draws unwanted interfere from administrators. Traditional administrators hate creativity.

This essay and portrait is part of a community-art and leadership project called “wdydwyd?” Tony Deifell (KNLP-16) invited his colleagues in the Kellogg Fellowship to reflect on what motivates them to follow their personal and professional paths by answering the question, “Why do you do what you do?”

“wdydwyd?” has reached over 1.5 million people worldwide and it has been used for team-building at Google, Twitter, many colleges and universities, nonprofits and K-12 classrooms. And, according to Wired Magazine, “In Silicon Valley, that question has been the hottest team-building meme since Outward Bound – and it’s spreading.” For more information:

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